According to a report, a recent study reveals that an improved in-space diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and fish may enhance astronaut health and performance.
Astronauts who travel to space face dangers such as the prolonged effects of microgravity and increased radiation exposure.
Therefore, astronauts need to have a healthy diet in order to avoid ever running these risks. However, due to weight restrictions on spacecraft and the high bulk requirements of food, NASA food expert Grace Douglas told Space.com that this is a problem.
All food for space flight, according to Douglas, must be treated to ensure shelf stability at room temperature or the capacity to remain fresh for a long time at room temperature.
But she pointed out that most nutritious foods aren’t eaten in this manner.
The current study, according to Douglas, shows that her team was able to produce a greater variety of fruits and vegetables that are appropriate for spaceflight and feed them at a higher volume.
Incorporating more fish, tomatoes, and other foods rich in key nutrients like flavonoids and omega-3 fatty acids into their diet was their goal using these goods. A greater variety of fruits and vegetables were also added.
The researchers evaluated the effects of the higher spaceflight diet and the current ISS diet on six women and 10 men.
These 16 people took part in 45-day missions while consuming either one diet or the other inside a closed cage on Earth designed to simulate the circumstances of limited spaceflight.
They found that people consuming the higher diet had lower levels of cortisol and cholesterol. Additionally, they performed better on a simple computer game designed to test their focus, accuracy, and speed of thought.
Additionally, compared to those who maintained a conventional diet, their gut microbiomes, a community of microbes that naturally inhabit our digestive tracts, remained more diverse and rich, which is a sign of overall health.
This diet for space missions is now being researched by Douglas and her team.
In a statement to Space.com, Douglas stated, “NASA is interested in how food bulk might be reduced. However, first, we have to understand how food is interacting with health and performance on these missions, and then how reduction may affect health and performance.”